Disciplinary and grievance hearings

Employment law allows employers to take action about unsatisfactory performance or poor behaviour of an employee. This may lead to a hearing, which is a formal opportunity where the manager and worker can see the relevant evidence. Employment tribunals recognise that a hearing should be part of a formal improvement or disciplinary process.

If an employer acts unreasonably in not following the disciplinary or capability procedure, he or she could face increased costs at an employment tribunal.

A hearing or meeting should be held as soon as possible. Both parties can bring evidence and witnesses to support their case and also ask questions.

When the procedure could result in a formal warning or other disciplinary action, employees have a statutory right to be accompanied at the hearing by a companion. The companion could be a fellow worker or a trade union representative or official. After the hearing, opportunities to improve, final written warnings and appeals should also be part of the process.

When the procedure could result in a formal warning or other disciplinary action, employees have a statutory right to be accompanied at the hearing by a companion. The companion could be a fellow worker or a trade union representative or official. A companion cannot be an employment solicitor. After the hearing, opportunities to improve, final written warnings and appeals should also be part of the process.

When an employee has a complaint about the employer or circumstances in the workplace, then he or she can lodge a grievance. Employment law does not set out a prescribed form for a grievance but employment tribunals have regard to the ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) Code of Practice, March 2015. The employment tribunal will take into account any failure to follow procedure.

An employee’s complaint could involve: terms of employment, pay and working conditions, disagreements with co-workers, discrimination, and statutory employment rights.